Moore, R. C. (2004). Communications Seminar. Unpublished course syllabus, Elizabethtown College, Department of Communications.
Comm. 485--Communications Seminar Course Syllabus
At Elizabethtown College, Com 485, Communications Seminar (4 semester credits) is the final or capstone course required of all majors. The course is intended to provide an opportunity for the integration of coursework, knowledge, skills, and experiential learning. The student is expected to analyze and synthesize past learning and relate it to issues and problems in Communications. The student is to demonstrate a broad mastery of professional expectations for a promise of initial employability, further learning, and career advancement. The course is intended to not only permit the integration of oral, written and media projects, but also to provide for the opportunity to research and plan a major study or produce a major project and make a public presentation to the campus community. Class meetings focus on assisting students in establishing a professional identity while individual conferences routinely discuss project planning, progress and problems.
The capstone course integrates course work, knowledge, skills, and experiential learning to demonstrate mastery of learning for initial employability and a promise for further career development. It employs critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving strategies, effective writing, effective oral communication, quantitative and qualitative analysis, computer literacy, library competency and mediated communications, related to a student's communications concentration and specific career plans.
The capstone course is designed to help the student achieve the following outcomes:
„ Work independently and develop a keen sense of time management and project management.
„ Enhance skills in written, spoken and visual communications.
„ Evaluate and process learning, find similarities, draw distinctions, synthesize concepts, and create new ideas through the selection, research, presentation, and defense of a senior project.
„ Develop a professional identity exemplifying knowledge, skills, values and attitudes appropriate to their career path through an experiential learning opportunity.
„ Develop an informed sense of design and production and to use a variety of forms of mediated communication effectively.
„ Clearly define the characteristics, skills and abilities of their chosen career area.
„ Formulate a statement and rationale of preferred employment in Communications.
„ Prepare an acceptable rsum and portfolio for employment and prepare for employment interviews.
Shortly after the beginning of the semester, each student selects a ŅclientÓ with whom they will work, for the entire semester, on developing and producing a major project for use by that organization. Contacts, selection of a client, as well as topic of the project, are the individual responsibility of the student. The professor maintains possible client leads, but formal contact and interviewing is required in order for the student to be ŅhiredÓ to produce the project. Final approval of the client and project rest with the faculty member. During the course of the semester, formally written outlines and updates are submitted to the instructor. These reports include the following: a progress report, the journal of client meetings (specifying details of discussions and decisions,) storyboards, scripts, project time lines, a daily log of activities working on the project, and other items as necessary.
Literature Search (mid-term research paper)
The formal research undertaken to formulate a foundation for the project (a literature review of approximately 20 pages) is due as a mid-term paper. This paper constitutes an initial draft of Chapter 1 and 2 of the final thesis. Only working references may be cited with a minimum of 10 well-balanced sources drawn from the last ten years.
Senior Thesis, Client Project And Oral Defense
The final project is a formal client project arranged with a particular business, corporation, agency, etc. Contacts and selection of a client, as well as topic, is the responsibility of the student. However, both the client and instructor must approve the project. A copy of a letter outlining project requirements from the client must be submitted to the instructor with the proposal.
This course final requirement is actually made up of three parts. First, the student undertakes major research on the theory and foundations of such a project. Second, based on the research, the student writes, designs, creates, etc., the project and/or program for the client. Thirdly, the student presents an oral and mediated defense of the research and project.
The Thesis. The student submits a formally written thesis. It consists of six chapters: 1) an introduction and description of the client and project; 2) the formal research undertaken to formulate a foundation for the project; 3) an analysis and description, of the pre-planning of the project, as it relates to the literature search; 4) discussion of project design, creation, and production; how and why the project and its components were properly produced; 5) evaluation and summary/conclusion. Chapter 5 must address formative evaluation (procedures and results) and summative evaluation (short-term procedures and results.) A long-term summative evaluation plan is also to be developed. Focus groups are to be held as part of evaluation. In the summary, the student should note areas of improvement, strengths and weaknesses of the project. In the conclusion, the student evaluates the experience, class-client relationship, etc. 6) The appendix includes all previously mentioned project management reports.
The Client Project. The project is submitted in its original medium and must be fully completed by the date of the oral defense. Project clients write verification letters to the professor that: 1) verify that the project has been completed; 2) evaluate the quality of the project; and 3) evaluate the performance of the student.
The Oral Defense. The above thesis/project is presented to department faculty, interested students, members of the campus community, family, and guests. A 20-minute minimum (and 30-minute maximum) presentation is delivered accompanied by demonstrations, selected screenings (excerpts), or other appropriate materials describing or demonstrating the project.
Oral Presentation of Research
Each student presents one oral report during the course of the semester concerning an issue or concern from the review of literature. The report is to be a product of research from a well-balanced selection of sources within the last ten years. The oral presentation is 5-8 minutes long.
Rsum. Each student develops a formally planned and prepared rsum.
Portfolio. Each student, based upon personal strengths and expertise, as indicated in the rsum, prepares a comprehensive professional portfolio of communications skills and abilities reflecting their education within the major.
In grading all of the above course requirements, the instructorÕs focus is on the display of a high level of knowledge and the application of it to a high level of professional production and performance. Societal implications and ethical considerations are addressed in evaluations, as are the craft and skill in designing and developing messages. Students are to bring to the course knowledge and information from a several disciplines and show the application of that learning to their particular problem.
Each of the requirements is weighted differently in calculating the final course grade. The project, research paper and oral defense make up 45% of the grade. The remaining portion of the grade is drawn from the mid-term literature review, the portfolio, the rsum, and the oral presentation of research.
Guide for Client Project Proposal
Background of client (Name, Location, Type of Business, etc.)
Current status of a problem, issue or concern that is to be addressed by the project.
The single most important goal or solution to the problem. The clientÕs stated purpose for the project. The reason why the client wants the project to be done and the expected outcome or solution desired.
Several independent items that the client has established as things to be addressed or included in order to meet the project goal. That is, specifics that the project will do/include that, when accomplished, will result in solving the problem.
Specific elements or approaches to the project that, when completed, will achieve each of the above objectives and in turn effect the solution to the problem. The areas addressed here are planning, data gathering, and project design necessary to begin production.
A detailed list of all of the production activities that must be done in order to complete each objective (and therefore meet the clientÕs goal for the project.)
Planned activities to be undertaken to determine the appropriateness of the design and production of the project. These include both formative and summative evaluations. Summative evaluations will include short-term evaluation of the production and the suitability of the strategies employed. Long-term evaluations to measure the success of the project often cannot be completed in the time frame of the course. Specific evaluation plans are to be developed.
A written statement describing the clientÕs problem in its simplest terms. What is to be addressed by the project? Who is the audience? What is its goal or purpose of the project?
Area of Study
Generally refers to the studentÕs concentration or area of study within the major. This provides the focus or angle to the project and sets the tone for the research.
Functionally, the topic of the research is narrowed at this stage. Drawn from the above two items, this is a statement that specifically indicates the areas of literature to be investigated.
A question which integrates the above information and the goal of the research. What one expects to learn from the research study. The question sets a theme for the research that helps the student focus only on key elements of research.
A prioritized listing of 3-5 key elements, drawn from the research question, that must be researched for a complete inquiry. They include: discipline related material, project management and design literature, specific production materials, and project distribution/implementation literature including planned evaluation.
An integrated statement that indicates the specific nature and direction of the research. The statement cites the problem and the key areas of research that will lead to the conceptual design and production of the project.
1. Problem Statement and purpose of the project. Specify the type of project to be created (Information/Entertainment, Training/Instructional, Sales/Promotional, etc.)
2. Goal: The measurable solution to the problem. The clientÕs stated purpose for the project.
3. Objectives: Content solutions to achieve the goal. A listing of specific items that the project will do/include that, when accomplished, will result in the solution to the problem.
4. Audience Profile.
5. Method of Presentation or format of the project.
6. Treatment (to include the following)
Format (Media Chosen)
Content (Storyboard, Script)
Talent (List & Character Description.)
Summative Evaluation. Short Term and Long Term evaluation activities.
(Moore, R. C. (2004). Communications Seminar. Unpublished course syllabus, Elizabethtown College, Department of Communications.)